Jennifer Pike - Live Reviews

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"A delightful trip to Poland with Jennifer Pike via the Wigmore Hall. Most music-lovers would be hard-pressed to name more than a handful of Polish composers, so one of the joys of Polish Music Day, presented by Jennifer Pike and Friends at Wigmore Hall, was the sheer scope of the programme...It was rewarding to hear Pike in Szymanowski’s Sonata for Violin and Piano and Karłowicz’s Impromptu, both impassioned early works that showed off her warm, quicksilver tone. With its dizzying harmonics, Wieniawski’s famous Polonaise No. 1 in D is often relegated to encore status, yet here Pike gave the music its full due in a bold, bravura performance. Chopin featured in his often overlooked chamber music guise, and Pike and Poster were joined by the cellist Guy Johnston to play his early Piano Trio in G minor with sweeping high spirits. Here the encore was Michał Ogiński’s celebrated Farewell to the Homeland Polonaise." (Polish Music Day, Jennifer Pike and friends, Wigmore Hall) **** John Allison, Daily Telegraph, 14 October 2017

"Violinist Jennifer Pike was the organiser of the whole project - the repertoire ranged from the baroque to the brand new and everything in between...The performance I saw was wonderful, consummately musical and full of moments of true beauty...Knapik is not a composer I had heard before, but he is certainly one I am eager to hear again (Partita for Violin and Piano). Pike played with both delicacy and heat in turns, revealing the shape of a luminous and wonderful work...I was astonished by the sheer beauty of this music at moments, and the performers managed to hold the whole audience spellbound through the wonderful mystery of this work. The concert finished with Chopin's Piano Trio in G minor op. 8. The vigour of the opening Allegro was a shock to the system after the dreamlike world of the Knapik and the compelling simplicity of the Górecki...After my ears adjusted, I was in a better place to appreciate the brilliance of playing in the trio - Poster and Pike added cellist Guy Johnston to complete the trio. They made their way with a warmth and precision of playing, communicating easily as the work unfolded...the trio gave a beautiful performance of the work, finishing to a rightly deserved powerful applause." (Polish Music Day, Wigmore Hall) Schmopera, 14 October 2017

"A wonderfully fluent performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto by Jennifer Pike. Still only 26, the British violinist has turned from child prodigy to superbly graceful virtuoso without airs or affectation." (Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, BBC Concert Orchestra, William Alwyn Festival) **** Richard Morrison, The Times, 07 September 2016

"Eschewing an overly flashy, self-interested performance which focused only on flair, Pike brought an elegant intelligence...Her playing was assured, bowing smooth and particularly nimble in her silver-toned reading of the firecracker third movement, where her accuracy couldn’t be faulted. An encore of the third movement of Ysaÿe’s Violin Sonata no. 2 in A minor, Op.27 no.2 was an unsurprisingly intelligent choice, with fine pizzicato and tonal clarity on display." (Bruch Violin Concerto, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cadogan Hall) Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack, 29 November 2016

"Sunday afternoon’s Usher Hall concert by the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra had to be heard to be believed....Fedoseyev’s a cracking accompanist too, keeping the band apace with Jennifer Pike’s delightful, sometimes impetuous account of the Violin Concerto, with a finale of such velocity it might have left a lesser conductor and band a few paces behind. Not this amazing crew. Wow." (Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow, Usher Hall) ***** Michael Tumelty, The Herald, 25 October 2016

"Jennifer Pike raises level of Tchaikovsky concert with her lyricism... The presence of Jennifer Pike lifted the whole thing up to a different level. She’s such a songstress of the violin...from the first time she played the main theme I felt the sheer lyricism of her playing winning me over. She seemed to affect the orchestra, too, who found a big sense of uplift in the tuttis and some hurdy-gurdy fun in the finale, and I loved the personal touches that she brought. She played the Canzonetta, for example, with lots of slurs and elisions between the notes – a small touch which actually made a big difference, making her sound much more distinctively Russian and less British – and her finale ran a huge gamut of styles, from lively to skittish to soulful, and all calling points in between. To hear one top class violinist in a weekend is a delight, but to hear two is a real privilege." (Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow, Usher Hall) Simon Thompson, Seen and Heard International, 24 October 2016

"In the pre-concert talk, world-renowned young violinist Jennifer Pike spoke of her love of the understated emotion of Sibelius’s violin concerto. This was captivatingly demonstrated in her pure, ethereal sound at the start of the first movement, lyrical slow movement and light, spirited playing of the third. The warm sound of her 1708 Goffriller violin filled Sheffield City Hall in an unaccompanied encore. " (Sibelius Violin Concerto, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow, Sheffield City Hall) Rachel Rowlands, Derbyshire Times, 21 October 2016

"(Lark Ascending) Pike coaxed a golden sound from her violin...The subtly and accuracy with which Pike nailed the double stops and octaves in the higher registers belied their technical difficulty, while the rippling sounds of the livelier mid-section captured the mercurial flight of Vaughan Williams' lark... (Beethoven Romance in F) The phrases were beautifully conceived and Pike’s tone exquisite...the filigree and pearly high notes for the soloist glistened. A Bach Prelude in E showcased both the musicianship and virtuosity of this extraordinarily gifted young violinist." (English Chamber Orchestra, Dublin) Andew Larkin, Bachtrack, 04 September 2016

"A large audience at Shrewsbury Abbey was privileged to witness a remarkable performance of Elgar’s violin concerto by young violinist Jennifer Pike, accompanied by the Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra under their charismatic conductor John Moore. As soon as she started, Jennifer had the full attention of the audience as her wonderfully rich tone soared across the Abbey. We were transfixed by her calm authority and impressive technique as she quickly established a rapport with conductor and orchestra. In the second movement she was never dwarfed by the orchestra and this movement in particular demonstrated her ability to build and release musical tension with, seemingly, little effort. The final movement produced a scintillating display of violin pyrotechnics as the soloist coped admirably with the many technical challenges - bravura passage-work, dynamic contrasts, superb bow control and keen, yet unfussy, articulation were all admirable qualities in this performance, which culminated in a mesmerising cadenza. This was playing of the highest quality, and after prolonged and deserved applause she treated us to a Bach Sarabande as an encore." (Elgar Violin Concerto, Shrewsbury SO, Shrewsbury Abbey) Bob Wysome, shropshirelive.com, 25 May 2016

"Yet I'll remember Jennifer Pike's mellow violin and the Philharmonia's poise in Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending - a beautiful performance, this; chaste and thoughtful." (Philharmonia Orchestra, Festival Hall) Geoff Brown, The Times, 09 March 2016

"Jennifer Pike's approach immediately gave the message that this was to be a lyrical interpretation, one characterised by beauty of sound. But there was more to it than that in a performance that Jennifer has been honing since a child prodigy. There is a cultivation of phrasing incorporating nuances that can be breathtaking in their subtlety....Jennifer's virtuosity is there to serve nothing other than the music. I have witnessed many performances of the concerto from Menuhin onwards but I do believe this one had a beauty of tone that surpassed them all." (Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, London Mozart Players, Harrogate) Seen and Heard International, 21 September 2015

"Former BBC Young Musician of the Year, violinist Jennifer Pike, played Kreisler's Tambourin Chinois with a dignified passion and displayed a tremendous juxtaposition of artistic flair and humility." (BBC Scottish SO, BBC Proms in the Park, Glasgow) The Herald, 2014

"Building upon her brilliant achievement in 2002 of winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year at the tender age of 12, Jennifer Pike has become an international star, and her performance here of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto was evidence enough for that. Pike's technique readily surmounted the embedded difficulties of this most virtuosic concerto... The double stopping and harmonics in Pike's cadenza proclaimed breathtaking bravura and the foregone prospect of applause, duly acknowledged. The slow movement was beautifully drawn and a setup for the ensuing finale’s epic pursuit of perpetual movement. Its Russian credentials encouraged some earthy timbres from her 1708 Goffriller instrument with Pinheiro ensuring orchestral colour in support." (Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Bournemouth SO) Daily Echo, 2014

"Pike's interpretation was cool, modern and spontaneous, alive to every yearning, falling phrase and sensuous nuance, combined with beautiful quality of sound, and rhapsodic moments of haunting mystery, particularly in the final movement." (Debussy Sonata, BBC Proms) ***** Bachtrack, August 2012

"A luminous, gleaming and massively-assured performance from violinist Jennifer Pike, not long ago a wunderkind, now a seasoned artist whose maturity was reflected at every level of her understanding of Hallgrimsson's concerto." (Hallgrimsson Violin Concerto, World Premiere, Glasgow) The Herald, 12 December 2011

"Mighty, impassioned climaxes in the first two movements as well as some wonderfully supple, nuanced playing in the second, and a finale mixing fire and reverie with a powerful sense of musical purpose." (Elgar Sonata, BBC Proms) The Strad, November 2009

"Pike captivated the Symphony Hall audience with a brilliant rendition of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. Every note of this perennial favourite was spot on, and played with feeling." (CBSO, Symphony Hall, Birmingham) Birmingham Post, 2008

"...this was the gem as young violinist Jennifer Pike, just coming into her late teens, gave a warm performance of Bruch's First Violin Concerto that was richly spacious and unashamedly expressive with some lovely, mature playing in the slow movement....here is yet another young violinist superbly equipped for a golden future." (BBC Scottish SO, Glasgow City Halls) Michael Tumelty, The Herald, 29 October 2007

"This was music-making the like of which one rarely comes across....Above all, time after time, she displays turns of phrase and expression that simply cannot be taught. . we had been privileged witnesses to a remarkable performance." (Saint-Saens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, BBC SO, Barbican) John Sidgwick, Culture Kiosque, December 2006

"The most simply spectacular of the players ... equipped at 16 with phenomenal tuning, pace, control of timbre and range of dynamics,she brought the house down with Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso." (BBC SO, Barbican Hall) Robert Maycock, The Independent, 10 March 2006

"Each item here deserved its own star-rating, from the indisputable nul points of [name of British composer omitted!!]'s abysmal new piece, to the five of Jennifer Pike's Saint-Säens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.....Pike's Saint-Säens revealed a truly engaging musicality, and a determination to make even a shamelessly virtuosic showpiece very much her own. Her playing had a nimble thoughtfulness about it, and a shy but assured sense of style." ***** Hilary Finch, The Times, 09 March 2006

"It's encouraging, in these days when emerging artists can so easily find themselves pushed and over-hyped into an early burnout, to find violinist Jennifer Pike taking the slow and careful route to stardom. Only now, a week after her 16th birthday, has she felt ready to face the toughest and most discriminating audience of all, that of London's Wigmore Hall. But it was worth the wait. Pike's growing maturity as an artist was immediately apparent." (Wigmore Hall) Matthew Rye, Daily Telegraph, 19 November 2005

"There could be no better way to open a three-concert day devoted to the violin than a solo from Britain's foremost young fiddler: the 15-year-old Jennifer Pike stepped on to the platform and delivered the prelude (and gavotte en rondeau) from Bach's Third Partita with perfect poise and assurance, her instrument sounding clear and strong." (BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall) The Independent, 02 August 2005

"The real zing was located elsewhere: in 15-year-old Jennifer Pike, confidently launching the afternoon Prom with her solo Bach." (BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall) The Times, 02 August 2005

"The most rewarding part of the whole five-hour venture came in the first five minutes, when 15-year-old Jennifer Pike played a pair of movements from Bach's solo Partita No 3 with great subtlety and composure." (BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall) Daily Telegraph, 01 August 2005

"Perfection from Pike. The high spot of the evening was Jennifer Pike's performance of the Bruch violin concerto. She played it as if it had been composed yesterday, fiery, powerful playing in the prelude and a sense of deepening intensity in the adagio, followed by a firework finale. Her tone was matchless and her technique magnificent: but the exciting thing was the individual musical mind she brought to it. With Boyd's help [the conductor], she made a hackneyed piece sound fresh - and for a 14-year-old, that points to an extraordinary future." (Manchester Camerata, Bridgewater Hall) Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News, 16 February 2004

"From the outset, the beautiful melody being sustained with a veteran's ease, her playing had astonishing tonal variety, was always firm and full-bodied whether in the instrument's lower, middle or higher registers and everything accurately pitched on a sixpence. It was admirable, even frightening, for one so young and she knew all about interpretation." (Prokofiev Violin Concerto No 1, cond. Mark Elder) Bernard Lee, Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 04 July 2003

"Jennifer Pike has one principal advantage over many brilliant child musicians...she is extremely musical. No peacock display, no redundant pyrotechnics or acrobatics; good clean playing, well articulated, intelligently phrased, and warmed by a strong, confident sound marked her lucid playing of the concerto." (Mozart Violin Concerto No 4, London Mozart Players) Michael Tumelty, The Herald, 03 June 2003

"A breathtaking performance of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto" (Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, BBC SO, Barbican) Sally Weale, The Guardian, 28 May 2002

"Allied to the youthful freshness of her performance, there was a wise understanding of structural and expressive proportion, a sweet and pliant tone and some light, agile finger-work. Her phrasing was mellifluous, and there was a fine balance between delicacy and ardour." (Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, BBC SO, Barbican) ***** Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph, 28 May 2002

"Her playing has led to her being hailed as one of Britain's brightest musical prodigies for a generation...a remarkable understanding of music far beyond her years. It was really quite astonishing...it was like listening to a 12-year-old Menuhin." (Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, BBC SO, Barbican) James Tozer, Daily Mail, 28 May 2002

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